Slow-paced holidays a trend for 2021

Travel will bounce back once restrictions are lifted, with budget travel continuing to go on the rise, says Airbnb GM


GROUP travel packages, particularly among family members and close friends, for slower-paced holidays are expected to trend once border restrictions are lifted.

According to Airbnb Inc’s Meaningful Travel Trends Survey 2021 that was conducted early this year looking at travel preferences and behaviours of Malaysians, 82% of Malaysians stated they were more connected to family since the Covid-19 pandemic hit after mainly being isolated at home.

Airbnb GM for India, South-East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan Amanpreet Bajaj said travel is resilient and will bounce back once restrictions are lifted, with budget travel continuing to go on the rise, particularly travels to domestic destinations.

“The majority of people surveyed or about 70% have plans on reconnecting with family when travel resumes, followed closely by taking trips with friends,” he said at the virtual media presentation yesterday.

Amanpreet said the pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO) have forced Malaysians to spend a significant amount of time apart from family and friends.

“Once travel reopens, we believe Malaysians’ desire to spend time together with those closest to them in familiar, calming destinations that are close to nature will serve as the driving force for domestic tourism recovery,” he said.

The survey also revealed that more than 50% of the respondents are expecting to spend less than RM2,000 on domestic travel due to the current economic conditions induced by the pandemic. Amanpreet said among other key factors are affordability and safety measures taken by Airbnb hosts.

“The top considerations for respondents when selecting travel destinations and accommodation were affordability at 72% and safety protocols at 44%, followed closely by adequate space to accommodate a group of friends or family at 33%,” he said.

Family-friendly destinations have continued to top the country’s bucket list for 2021 travel, with Penang emerging as the most popular destination.

The other top favourite states include Sabah, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Terengganu and Johor.

“Responsible travel is also important to Malaysians, with over 60% of respondents saying they often consider environment and sustainability when choosing travel accommodations and destinations.

“Many now consider sustainable and environmentally friendly destinations, especially nature-based ones. Ecotourism is already very popular in Malaysia, as there is no shortage of destinations considering how much green there is,” Amanpreet added.

Meanwhile, he said the home-sharing platform is looking forward to spurring the travel recovery once government regulations allow travel and will continue to support different efforts to drive the economy once again.

“Airbnb will also remain focused on supporting the local community, empowering them to earn additional income through hosting on the platform.

“In April 2020, Online Experiences was launched, enabling guests to travel virtually and enjoy activities around the world, and allowing hosts to continue to earn income while sharing in their passions,” he said.

He said the very first Malaysia-based Online Experiences was introduced in June 2020, with more Malaysians coming on board the platform in the following months.

“Most recently, Airbnb collaborated with four Malaysian creative entrepreneurs including Melinda Looi and Sherson Lian to launch special edition Online Experiences for Chinese New Year, helping Malaysian families share meaningful moments together during the MCO,” he said.